While Westminster City Council members have struggled to make any decisions about how to deal with a $12.6 million structural deficit that is only expected to rise in coming years, they have made at least one thing clear: public safety will be a priority.
After a contentious meeting packed with residents and employees in support of putting a tax increase before voters, the City Council voted to approve the ballot measure on the condition that any tax increase expire after six years.
As the window rapidly closes on they city’s chances to prevent bankruptcy by 2018, council members will meet Wednesday to pass a 2016-17 budget and again debate whether the path forward should be shaped by a tax increase or major spending cuts.
The city is facing a long-term deficit of $12.6 million and is on track to spend through its reserves in three years. Yet there is little appetite on council for either more budget cuts or tax increases.
The city’s budget deficit is $2 million more than city leaders anticipated, after a costly accounting mistake by the city’s now fired finance director came to light. Officials won’t explain the mistake and how it occurred.